A defiant Turkish prime minister arrived in Ankara surrounded by supporters having addressed six rallies in one day. His message – that his patience with mass anti-government protests is running out.
In a move intended to seize back the initiative, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced counter-rallies next weekend.
For one of his supporters it was music to her ears – she said she was happy and although she had been waiting for him for three hours, she would wait 24 more if needed.
But the premier’s description of his opponents as looters and extremists has caused more division in the country, as one protester explained:
“The prime minister must understand, he makes us angry when he calls us marauders and drunks and his more aggressive speeches are leading more people to take to the streets. For example if he hadn’t made this speech today I wouldn’t be here protesting.”
As night fell, riot police once again clashed with demonstrators in Istanbul.
Erdogan’s critics have called on him to take the reaction on the streets into account. His response has been to urge his supporters to teach the protesters a lesson via the ballot, at elections due in eight months time.